Tillers, garden tractors, chipper/shredderd, etc.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

How many are interested in a thread on this subject? We have a TroyBilt Pony about 30 yrs. old. The carbarator is the problem with it too. Since that engine is no longer made getting a new carborator isn't possible. Tried it already. Now I have a Mantis. I absolutely love it. It will do anything the Troybilt will/can do and is easier on me as well. I tear up praire sod that is heavy with old time fescue, etc. all the time. I don't know what I would do without it. DH bought me one of those hoe type things once. I told him I need a tool not a toy and took it back.

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

EvaMae, I have a little Mantis tiller. I love it. It was the best investment I've ever made. It is a work horse and it is light. Real easy on my back. My DH always takes it with him to use at his jobs. I keep telling him he is just going to have to get his own! Bye, Lisa

Keep it coming - I'm still trying to decide which equipment to buy. What does everyone else use, and are you happy with what you have?

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

I have a Troybuilt, 7 hp? horse model. It's about 18 years old, has been worn out once and rebuilt 3 years ago, except the engine was just fine. It has tilled a lot of gardens besides mine! I'd buy another one, maybe a used one next time for what it cost to have the old one rebuilt.(I think the local shop made a good profit on that job). My garden is about 1/10 acre and it gets tilled every spring and fall except the berry patches. The first year it took all day because it was heavy clay. Then I added cow manure down the rows and did it again. Now I make 3 or 4 passes down the row in the fall to till cornstalks etc under, and in the spring 1 or 2 passes makes it look beautiful! I've also got a Mantis which is great when the garden rows get bushy and the paths get a little bit weedy. The Mantis is great for stirring up a flower bed or other small space. Tall weeds ball up under both of them, so putting off tilling is VERY BAD. The Mantis also is great for stirring a layer of compost, or mixing goodies with soil right down your planting row before the seeds go in. The troybuilt needs a bit of space to turn around. My garden rows end about 8 feet from the fence, and if I am quick on the turn I don't hit it with the handle bar. Mine has a pipe guard around the engine, it's saved it more than once! Worth the price. Reckless driver! Shredders can be tempermental. Mine doesn't want to eat what I want to feed it!Damp things especially choke it up. What kind? Can't read the label from here, got it at Walmart. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

I have a airens garden tractor(inherited when parents died)with 3ft tiller on the back-its wonderful! We also have a 6ft wide tiller that hooks up to a real tractor-oh my this one is great for breaking new ground and turning under the old cornstalks. i do have a old walkbehind white tiller-it hardly ever gets out of the barn!
I really want a MANTIS for those smaller places. What is the price range for the mantis? i need to start saving now!

Pineville, LA(Zone 8b)

Hi all! Santa brought me a Mantis for Christmas - all the friends, family and neighbors are as desperate for Spring as I am. They think I will dig up and plant the entire property! (*Grin* and I probably will!)
Grits

Well, I guess I got the "runt of the litter" when it comes to tillers. Three years ago I bought the Royobi multi-use straight shaft string trimmer. You can buy several attachments [tiller, blower, pruner] that just snaps in place. I have a very small, six row garden [20' x 35'] and it works well. It also works well as a cultivator. Any larger garden I'd buy a regular rear tine tiller. That's not economically practical for me since I use it once or twice a year and my garden is so small. It works well enough to break up soil and till in compost. I've certainly got my monies worth out of it. :-) Tom

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

I've got a 6 horse rear-tine tiller that's plenty strong enough to break new sod. But I don't use it for that. If I'm opening a new patch, I hire a guy with a tractor and plow to come do that. Then I till.

I've got a chipper/shreder, too, that I bought last year. Talk about a versitile, practical tool. If I had to choose between them, I would keep the chipper.

Another less known garden tool is a paper shredder. I use it to shred newspapers and the brown grocery bags, then use the result for mulch. Best 30 bucks I ever spent.

Just about everything else I do in the garden I do by hand. That is _not_ a moral or philosphical position. It's just the way I do it.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

My chipper/shredder is an MTD brand with a 5 hp Briggs and Stratton engine. It can be loaded from the top, has a separate narrow chute for limbs,(up to 3") and also a fold down ramp that makes it easy to rake leaves into it. I have found that if your material is mostly dry and of mixed sizes and shapes it works better with less clogging up. Too much moldy hay without any twigs to go in with it will clog mine up. Many rental places have shredders so a good plan is to rent one kind, then another next time and try a few before you buy one. I have used a lawn mower as a leaf shredder with great success, caught the shredded stuff in the grass bag and dumped it right where I wanted it. The shredder blows it out with great force and I had to make a bin to catch it, then move it where I want it with the wheelbarrow.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

My shredder is the same, except without the fold-down ramp.

My one complaint about it is the size of the discharge bag. Just as you get some momentum going you have to stop and empty it. Friend Wife is sewing up some new ones out of burlap, that will be about three times as large.

I had used a commercial chipper a couple of years ago, after a windstorm. Loved the fact that you could direct the discharge chute to put the chips where you wanted them. Ah, well. We can't have everything. But we can wish for it.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

I think ours is exactly like yours, Mary. We had been looking at one a few summers ago and found this one at WalMart stuck back in a corner. It had old vegatation dried onto it but the clerk tried to tell us it was new. She did admit it was an old model. The price wasn't on it, so we had the manager contacted for the rock bottom price. $300!! Much lower than another we had looked at. We saved enough money to be able to buy one of those lovely carts to pull behind it. We found out when we got to the check out counter that the cart was on sale too. It had been $100, then marked down to $75, scanned at $66. I protested the scan price not wanting to get the clerk in trouble for selling something before & the manager confirmed the $66 price. God is so good!
NotMartha, the price for a Mantis shipped direct from the factory was $329 the last I knew. Don't buy one from the local dealer or the 1 year warranty and return offer isn't good with the company. If the dealer will offer the same deal and gives it in writing, it would probably be ok.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

My my my ...Altho I have a 7 hp Troybilt tiller, which is a very good tiller and would not like to do w/out it, (it is great for tilling, but takes a bit of time on newground, cultivates fantastically, and is fairly maneuverable) I
really went to "over-enjoyment land" when I purchased a Gravely two-wheel tractor! Check 'em out Dave...there are about 50+ attachments that go on them but all you need is a rotary plow (plows, hills up beds, throws dirt from 6 inches to 6 feet, digs trenches, etc.) and a 30 inch bush-hog mower...Plus you can get a sulky seat and ride behind it. It does in one hour what it would take a Troybilt roughly 3-4 hrs.
Also I have a John Deere 850 tractor w/a tiller attachment (and a few other attachments) which puts both of the above
to shame. Don't know how much land you want to work but it is something you may want to consider. For too many years I worked entirely too much land with equipment designed for small gardens. The bigger stuff (J. Deere and will also include the Gravely, altho it is not big) not only saves a lot of time but effort and energy on the human body.
As for a chipper/shredder, I have one by Doer company. It has a vacuum hose that sucks up leaves into the shredder as well as chips 3 inch branches, supposedly. (It depends on the wood you are chipping. I've decided to sell it after 8 years (haven't used it for about 5)...if I want chips and stuff it is too easy to just drive and get a trailer load for 10 bucks at the dump...and the amount of time it takes to chip that much is just hours!

Lyndeborough, NH

Geez I feel left out, Got a Merry Tiller, Made in 1949, replaced gaskets in 1975, Am on second motor,, Ist clinton rusted out.

One I didn't tighten the motor mounts enough and split the crank case,

Still digs in over 10 in deep and tosses up 3 to 4 in granite rocks.

Oh well.

Lyndeborough, NH

Geez I feel left out, Got a Merry Tiller, Made in 1949, replaced gaskets in 1975, Am on second motor,, Ist clinton rusted out.

One I didn't tighten the motor mounts enough and split the crank case,

Still digs in over 10 in deep and tosses up 3 to 4 in granite rocks.

I can make a 16, 24 or 36 in cut.

Oh well.

Batchelor, LA(Zone 8b)

We use three tillers. Our workhorse is a 50 in. Befco powered by our International 274 diesel tractor. It will make a seedbed out of anything. We also have a 48 in. Kubota, that is used mostly for chemical incorporation and lighter jobs. It is not as aggressive as the Befco. In addition, we have a 21 inch 8 horsepower Sears with counter-rotating tines. It is used mostly for small jobs .
We are professional market gardeners and our tillers are
our primary tillage tools. We operated for years without a tiller and we would never do that again.
We use a Bush Hog rotary cutter to shred crop residue prior to tilling. Sometimes , if a plot is needed immediately for replanting , I will use a 5 ft. boxblade to drag the residue to one of three spots in the field and allow it to decompose and later be pulled back to wherever it is needed and tilled in. This method works really well and allows us to finish one crop and plant another the same day without a trash problem.
Buy the best tools you can afford. Using cheap tools can sometimes be harder work than doing it by hand. Been there -done that.
Bud

New Paris, OH

I gues i get the prize for the biggest walk behind tiller (walking 2 wheeled tractor actually) with my 2 BCS tillers. One is a 14hp and the other is a 12hp. We use them a lot on our produce farm. They replaced a sears 5hp front tine tiller that would try tpo kill you in dry conditions. the BCS machines will make a perfect seed bed in just two passes. Unlike the Troy Bilts this machine has a real transmision instead of belts and also has a PTO so you can put other attachments on it such as a bushhog mower (or finish mower), snow blower, sicklebar mower (which we have for weed control/cover cropping), chipper shredder. I think there are something like 140 attachments.
We use the machines to till, mow, lay plastic mulch, move boulders. They are very useful.

We bought the 14 hp new for $3500 and than about 3 months later went to an auction and picked up the 12hp for $220 with tons of attachments (and it works great!)

We have a free standing chipper shredder-8hp that I got at an auction for about $150 a few years ago. works well but takes up a lot of space and we don't use it more than 4 or 5 times a year.

Chamois, MO(Zone 5a)

I got a Merry Tiller about two years ago, one of those little 20 lbs ones, and so far so good. My chipper is a 8 horse craftsman and as long as the stuff is just about dry it does ok but wet stuff like canna leaves and stalks will choke it up after a while. I'm restoring a 1970 Massey Ferguson lawm tractor and hope to have it going for this spring. Parts are hard to find but found a club on yahoo for these tractors only. Thanks Brook for the idea about the paper shredder.

Batchelor, LA(Zone 8b)

Even though I own one and use it for an occasional "quickie" job, I would hate to think I had to make a living walking behind that dusty thing . Not too much better than plowing a mule and smells almost as bad.
GIVE ME MY TRACTOR!!!!
Bud

Stanton, IA(Zone 4b)

I use a Troy Bilt Horse for use in the garden, does a real fine job, also use a mantis to help on weed control. Outside the garden I use a John Deere mower and a DR trimmer mower for around the trees and buildings. For bigger jobs, such as a potato field, I use my old Ford 9N with attachments, when running.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

i recieved the info on the mantis tiller-299.00 with a edger free. still has lifetime warranty on the tines and
2yrs on the rest of the tiller.
can be made in 4 credit card payments-guess what i want for my birthday?

Cockeysville, MD(Zone 6a)

I got a 5HP Troy Bilt front-tine tiller 3 years ago from an acquaintance who hardly ever used it. BIG MISTAKE! I had a huge old rear-tine Troy Bilt that my dad had given me years ago but it literally pulled me through the garden. I sold it and bought the front tine one which didn't make it through a season. It seems the sealed chain assembly busted. My neighbor who does small engine repair tried to pry it apart etc., and said it was not repairable. Cost: $250 for a new "sealed" chain assembly. It is still in pieces in my basement. I curse at it occasionally as I walk by...I invested in a Sears rear-tine tiller and LOVE IT! It is small enough that I can put the handlebar in a LOW position, walk it up a 3/4" plywood ramp into the back of my Subaru SW. The ramp is only about 2 and 1/2' wide so I slide that in as well for unloading. My garden plots are about a mile away from my home. I start it in the car and just back out when I arrive! You can't beat a rear tine tiller!
Does anyone on the list know about sharpening the tines? I used a hand rasp and drill with sharpening bit through the season but it is time now to get a pro job done.

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